Archive for the ‘73s’ Category
“Best regardses” and “Best regards’s”
That’s silly, of course. We who speak and write in the English language know that you should not pluralize a word that is already in its plural form. “Best regards” means, “I wish you the best of regards.” It is implied that there is more than one regard. Perhaps there are a few, perhaps many more. It then is clear that we wouldn’t normally pluralize “regards,” into, “regardses.”
It is also silly to say that the best of regards owns something. How can a regard let alone a group of regards own anything? So, why “73’s” when written?
The usage of “73” comes from early landline telegraph (typically railroad telegraphy landlines). Originally devised in the era of telegraphs, 73 and other numbers were used to speed up the transmission of common messages over landlines by mapping common messages to these specific numbers. And, numbers were quicker to send than the longer messages the numbers replaced.
QST, April 1935, on page 60, contains a short article on the origin of the amateur radio vernacular, 73. This article was a summation of another article that appeared in the “December Bulletin from the Navy Department Office of the Chief of Naval Operations,” published December of 1934.
Here’s a quotation from that Navy article:
“It appears from a research of telegraph histories that in 1859 the [land-line] telegraph people held a convention, and one of its features was a discussion as to the saving of ‘line time.’
A committee was appointed to devise a code to reduce standard expressions to symbols or figures. This committee worked out a figure code, from figure 1 to 92.
Most of these figure symbols became obsolescent, but a few remain to this date, such as 4, which means “Where shall I go ahead?’. Figure 9 means ‘wire,’ the wire chief being on the wire and that everyone should close their keys. Symbol 13 means ‘I don’t understand’; 22 is ‘love and a kiss’; 30 means ‘good night’ or ‘the end.’
The symbol most often used now is 73, which means ‘my compliments’ and 92 is for the word ‘deliver.’ The other figures in between the forgoing have fallen into almost complete disuse.”
We can see, then, that “73” mapped to “best regards” or “my compliments” and was intended as a general valediction for transmitted messages. That’s why it is silly to say, “73s,” as that maps to, “best regardses” – 73s adds the plural to a plural. (And, don’t make it possessive, as in using, “73’s” – a regard cannot own something).
For reference and some more interesting background on this, see http://www.signalharbor.com/73.html
An example of on-the-air conversation (or, QSO—“QSO” is the shorthand Q-code for, “two-way exchange of communications”) illustrates proper usage of 73. When saying your goodbye, you would tap out the Morse code as follows:
TNX FER FB QSO. C U AGN. 73 ES HPY NEW YR.
That is interpreted as, “Thanks for the fine-business chat. I hope to see you again for another chat. Best regards and happy new year.”
This, if you choose to throw around shorthand Morse code number codes when you are speaking, you wouldn’t say, “73s.” You would say, “73.”
My friend, David Edenfield, opined, “This idea is beyond turning into glue from the dead horse it’s beating again. This is so petty to be concerned with this. Even the Old Man Hiram Percy Maxim 1AW used 73s on his QSL cards.”
Well, even Hiram Percy Maxim has been incorrect and incorrectly used grammar. (chuckle)
There is something to be said about teaching new amateur radio operators the best of our traditions, history, skills, procedures, protocols, ethics, and culture. There’s no rational argument that can make a case that allowing these aspects of our service and hobby to degrade over time (by the lack of Elmering) is a good way to see our service and hobby thrive and progress.
I don’t see any slippage from high standards as being a good strategy for nurturing growth, progress, and effectiveness of our service and hobby. Keeping some level of excellence in every aspect of our hobby can only be beneficial.
In this case, how many new hams that learn to repeat ham lingo know anything of the history behind the common “73?” My dead horse turned glue is educational and it is my belief that educating about origins elevates the current.
73 – NW7US
I was sitting in our Board Meeting for the NI4CE repeater system – http://ni4ce.org and realized that I have not been playing radio in quite some time. There is more than one reason. I have been extremely busy at work and due to that I have had no time for anything else.
One of those other life factors besides work, kids, family, and other hobbies is school. For many of you this might sound odd, but for others you will completely understand.
At this point in my life, even though I have been in computer industry for over 25 years, I have never had a college degree. My wife was starting her MBA and I said with her going to be taking on the stress and challenge of that maybe it’s something I should consider. I looked into what my company would help pay for, I looked into the time commitments, and I landed on University of Phoenix.
Online works great for me – I am a computer geek and live online. I thought this would be a great time in life and then I would finally not be the only person around the table that couldn’t talk about having their degree. It was just something that always has been in the back of my mind.
Well, I started and finished week 1 with all A’s in my two classes and I’m on my way. I understand that this isn’t Ham Radio specific but if you ever read my story about how Ham Radio helped put me on a better path you will understand why this ties back together. Ham Radio helped me get my 15-year-old head on straight; many people in the hobby-helped push me into computers. I have worked for one of the largest software companies for the last 18 years and been pretty lucky to still know the two guys that did it.
I am sure my story of going back and getting my college education will bring more bliss to a great story they had impact on.
I won’t post all of my weeks progress, but I thought I would start with week one:
I am still active on the Board of Directors for NI4CE and I am going to do my best to get back into radio further. I promise J for not if you want to find me it will most likely be in the library.